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Big League Stew

Jonathan Sanchez hits DL, clearing path for return of Zito

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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The San Francisco Giants have placed left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez on the disabled list with what they're calling "biceps tendinitis" — but could just as easily be listed as a "mental vacation." In response, they also activated Barry Zito three days ahead of his originally scheduled spot start during a doubleheader at Wrigley Field.

That will now become the first of at least three starts for Zito before Sanchez will be eligible to come off the DL on July 10. Whatever date it is that Sanchez actually does return, the Giants will again be forced to assess their starting rotation logjam.

But for now, Zito is in. {YSP:MORE}

As recently as Friday afternoon it was assumed San Francisco would go through the rotation one more time before making any meaningful decisions on the rotation, especially with the doubleheader forcing them to use six starters over a five-day period. But Bochy, along with pitching coach Dave Righetti, decided it was time to give Sanchez a break after his erratic outing in the Giants come from behind 4-3 victory on Friday night.

During that outing, Sanchez walked six Cleveland Indians — raising his major league-leading total to 59 walks in 89 2/3 innings —  and broke the thumb of outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.

There was a rumor the Giants would move him to bullpen as an attempted wake up call, but they ultimately decided on the DL stint. That gives Sanchez two weeks to clear his mind while they evaluate Zito and Madison Bumgarner before figuring which pieces fit where heading into the second half of the season.

And yes, it is safe to assume there is no significant physical ailment hampering Sanchez at this time. This is what he had to say following Friday's game.

From The San Jose Mercury News:

"There's nothing wrong with me. I'm fine. I'm healthy. I'm just having a hard time."

See? He's fine. Now here's what Bruce Bochy had to say.

"Just watching him, I can tell he's lost some confidence," Bochy said. "It's just not happening. He's all over the board, and that's not him. We may keep throwing him out there. We may back him off. We'll see. But getting (Barry) Zito back does give us that option."

No talk of an injury there either. Just a little circumvention of the rules. Everybody's doing it these days, though none as creatively or effectively as Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon.

Of course none of this maneuvering would be possible if not for the incredible resurgence of 33-year-old Ryan Vogelsong. Since taking over for Zito in April, Vogelsong is 5-1 with a 1.98 ERA and nine quality starts. Needless to say his spot is secure, as is his grip on the National League Comeback Player of the Year award.

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